by John Steinmetz
That was “Komm, Susser Tod”—“Come, Sweet Death”—by J. S. Bach. In that performance the Robert Shaw Chorale was conducted by—duh—Robert Shaw. And you’re listening to 86.6, KDED, the last classical radio station on Earth. KDED, all dead white males, all the time. I’m your host, Ben Offt.
This afternoon at three on our weekly Diversity Hour, KDED presents “A Salute to Women.” Tune in for great historical recordings: from Tristan und Isolde, Isolde’s Love-Death; from Rigoletto, the murder of Gilda; from La Bohéme, Mimi’s final breath; from Madame Butterfly, Cio-cio-san’s suicide; and from Salome, the soldiers crush Salome to death.
The next hour of great music is sponsored by Steve’s Funeral Home. “When it’s time to die, give Steve’s a try.”
It’s time now for my favorite part of the week, Letters from Listeners. Helen from Chicago writes, “Dear KDED, Why don’t you play more music by living composers?” Helen, don’t be a bobblehead. Here at KDED we play only the greatest music, and in order to write great music you have to be dead. That’s just how it works.
Our next letter comes from George in Eugene, who writes, “Dear KDED, how can we get more young people interested in classical music?” Well, George, that’s why here at KDED we have our Young People’s Hour every Saturday morning, when we explain very carefully and slowly why great classical music is good for you.
Our next letter, from Tina in New York, says, “Now that Luciano Berio is dead, will you be playing his music on KDED?” Well, Tina, you’re a bobblehead, too. Remember, every great composer is dead, but not every dead composer is great.
Our final letter is from Tom in Los Angeles. Tom writes, “Dear KDED, why don’t you play more world music?” Well, Tom, you’re right that there’s a whole world of great music by dead white European men, and here at KDED we play music from all kinds of obscure and exotic places, such as Spain.
Now let’s get back to more great music. We’ll listen to Richard Strauss’s “Death and Transfiguration,” in this performance by the great Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by the great Herbert von Karajan, the maestro who is there to remind us that the only good conductor is a dead conductor.
You’re listening to KDED, the last classical radio station on Earth, and I’m your host, Ben Offt.